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Atlas Shrugged
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Used In
Atlas Shrugged
Show Multiple Meanings (More common than this sense)
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unspecified meaning
  • The great chain stopped over a car, descended, jerked in a brief spasm and left the rails in the car.
  • Francisco’s stay in New York was brief, that fall.

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  • His letters were brief, written by hand, usually at night.
  • She smiled at Rearden, coldly, for a brief, stressed moment, then moved away.
  • He studied the figures for a few moments, marking some brief calculations on the margin of the sheet.
  • In the brief space of his answer, she felt frightened, sensing a sudden fear within him.
  • She gave a brief chuckle.
  • The word that Lawrence Hammond had retired came when least expected, brief and sudden like the single stroke of a bell in a heavy stillness.
  • He had answered, he had seen Lillian’s brief nod, and then he had seen Lillian moving away and realized that he had stood with his head bowed for a long moment.
  • But they went by so fast that she could not grasp their meaning until, like the squares of a movie film, brief flashes blended into a whole and she understood it.

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  • She had flown to New York unexpectedly, at a moment’s notice, leaping to the controls of her plane within twenty minutes after hearing a brief item in a news broadcast.
  • He walked briskly, in a Morse code pattern of short dashes and brief stops, with a manner of faint irritation, as if conscious of the number of people whom his displeasure might worry.
  • She took a cigarette and he struck the brief flare of a match, then shook it out, leaving only two small points of fire in the darkness of a glass room and of miles of mountains beyond it.
  • The brief, taut movement of his lips was a smile.
  • Dr. Ferris gave a brief frown, as if a dot of the pattern had slipped and almost cost him the game, then chuckled, as if he had recaptured it.
  • He remembered his brief glimpse-on that morning in the Wayne Falkland Hotel-of a flaw in her scheme of punishment, which he had not examined.
  • They printed brief accounts on unlikely pages, worded in such generalities that no reader could discover any hint of a controversial issue.
  • She watched him empty his glass in a single gesture; the brusque, brief movement of his hand made it look like the gesture of some solemn pledge.
  • She looked at the phone’s mouthpiece for the instant of a brief shock.
  • She gave a brief, harsh chuckle.
  • Francisco’s head jerked to her, the brief snap of his voice held all of his unreleased violence, and she knew it was an order that had to be obeyed.
  • She went on speaking-and he listened, looking down at his pad, making a brief notation once in a while.
  • He knew what was wrong with him, he thought; he did not want her to leave, he did not want to lose her again, after so brief a moment of reunion.
  • Her mouth moved in the brief snap of a smile.
  • She gave a brief chuckle, she stepped onto a tie of the track, stressing the step as her answer, and they went on.
  • She wondered why it seemed to her that Galt was watching her face intently and that she saw an instant’s change in his, too brief to define.
  • She saw a brief glitter of wires among the branches, as they drove out into a clearing.
  • He picked a cigarette from a table beside him, and in the flare of a match she saw the brief sparkle of gold, the dollar sign, between his fingers.
  • It was Galt’s voice; it was a command; the brief snap of sound had a tinge of violence neither of them had ever heard from him before.
  • She knew that he wanted to leave the room, as he always left it, he had never stayed for longer than a brief good night when he came home.
  • It was only an instant, almost too brief to grasp, because it seemed to him that Francisco rose at once at his entrance, with a movement of courteous deference.
  • A narrow door slid open with a brief gasp of flame, and a sheet of red-glowing coke came sliding out smoothly, like a slice of bread from the side of a giant toaster.
  • When she felt herself shaking and heard her own voice, it seemed to meet the last echo of her scream in the air of the room-and she realized how brief a moment had passed between.
  • I don’t know how long he stood there, watching me, but what I remember is that suddenly his hand reached over, swept all my figures off the blackboard and wrote one brief equation.
  • It was two hours later, in a brief pause between long-distance phone calls, that she asked him suddenly the first question which did not pertain to the railroad: "What have they done to Hank Rearden?"
  • There was a brief silence on the wire, then the voice of the Omaha operator told him that the general manager had resigned and vanished three days ago-"over a little trouble with Mr. Locey," the voice added.
  • In the summer days and in the heavy stillness of the evenings of the city, there were moments when a lonely man or woman-on a park bench, on a street corner, at an open window-would see in a newspaper a brief mention of the progress of the John Galt Line, and would look at the city with a sudden stab of hope.
  • A brief, tight movement of her lips was as close as she could come to a smile: it was he who was flying her plane for her, she thought; he had given her the power to follow him with a somnambulist’s unerring skill.
  • Rearden stood still and caught a brief instant when Francisco, not moving, looked at him with the hint of an amused smile that was like a wink between conspirators at a secret they both understood, but would not acknowledge.
  • Watching him at the job of loading the trucks, Rearden thought that this boy, if born a generation earlier, would have become a great industrialist; now, he would probably end his brief life as a plain criminal in a few more years.
  • This was only a small, extraneous stab of pain, he thought, a feeling of disappointment in an expectation he had never had the right to expect; he should have known that this was just what a man like Francisco d’Anconia would do-and he wondered angrily why he felt as if a bright, brief flame had died somewhere in a lightless world.
  • They could see nothing beyond the glass bay of the observation window at the end of the car, except the small halos of red and green lanterns marking the rear of the train, and a brief stretch of rail running away from them into the darkness.
  • The newsmen were making brief notes of his answers.
  • She stood still, looking up at the statue, as for a brief moment of dedication.
  • Lillian gave a brief little laugh, its forced brevity betraying that this was not quite the attitude she had expected.
  • The taxi driver gave a brief, contemptuous chuckle-and snapped the radio off.
  • Instead of the anger she expected, she saw a brief flash of amusement in the lift of his eyelids.
  • He felt a brief flash of terror-because she was looking at him as if she were seeing that which had to remain unadmitted to himself.
  • The boy’s mouth jerked suddenly into the brief, mirthless twist of a smile.
  • Yet the screen split open for one brief break-for the length of a letter she received a week after he vanished.
  • She heard the brief crack of a board, but it came from the floor below.
  • "But if they ever found this place-" He gave an odd, brief chuckle.
  • Mr. Thompson experienced a brief flash of uneasiness when the click of the lock cut off his escape and left him alone with the prisoner.
  • Meigs gave a brief bark that was a chuckle.
  • She picked up the key from the ground-then waited for a few brief moments, as had been agreed upon.
  • He left the guard gaping at him and turned to a brief, whispered consultation with his companions.
  • He was looking straight at her and she saw a brief sparkle in his eyes, which was not a smile, but almost as if he had heard the cry she had not uttered.
  • The horror she felt was only a brief stab, like the wrench of a switching perspective: she grasped that the objects she had thought to be human were not.
  • She felt the light-headed, the easy, the almost frivolous sensation of triumph in the knowledge that she was holding him as surely as by a physical touch; for the length of a moment, brief and dangerous to endure, it was a more satisfying form of contact.
  • In the brief lulls of the storm, when the white mesh vanished and left behind it the stillness of a black void merging a lightless earth with a starless skythe passengers could see, many miles away to the south, a small tongue of flame twisting in the wind.
  • She had seen the brief pause of his glance, which no one else could notice; the glance had been more than a kiss, it had been a handshake of approval and support.
  • She caught brief snatches of fraudulent voices talking about some sort of new invention that was to bring some undefined benefits to some undefined public’s welfare.
  • In the name of whatever grace and pride she possessed-in the name of such moments when he had seen a smile of joy on her face, the smile of a living being-in the name of the brief shadow of love he had once felt for her-he would not pronounce upon her a verdict of total evil.
  • They, the great victims who had produced all the wonders of humanity’s brief summer, they, the industrialists, the conquerors of matter, had not discovered the nature of their right.
  • He would never have to learn his own motive, he thought; he thought it, not by means of words, but by means of the brief, vicious spasm of an emotion that resembled irritation and felt like acid.
  • As the cab started, she noticed that the dial of the radio on the driver’s panel was lighted and silent, crackling with the brief, tense coughs of static: it was tuned to Bertram Scudder’s program.
  • I caught a glimpse of him as he stood with his hand on the door of his car, his head lifted, I saw the brief flare of a smile under the slanting brim, a confident smile, impatient and a little amused.
  • As men on a dark prairie liked to see the lighted windows of a train going past, her achievement, the sight of power and purpose that gave them reassurance in the midst of empty miles and night —so she wanted to feel it for a moment, a brief greeting, a single glimpse, just to wave her arm and say: Someone is going somewhere…… She started walking slowly, her hands in the pockets of her coat, the shadow of her slanting hat brim across her face.
  • It was so brief a moment that two of the men before her could take it only as a greeting-but it was at Galt that she looked when she raised her head, and she saw him looking at her as if he knew what she felt-she saw him seeing in her face the realization that it was he who had walked out of Danagger’s office, that day.
  • She had not known that a face could age so greatly within the brief space of one year: the look of timeless energy, of boyish eagerness, was gone, and nothing remained of the face except the lines of contemptuous bitterness.
  • Then she noticed that she was clinging to the radio, as if the faint electric beat within it still held a tie to the only living force on earth, which it had transmitted for a few brief moments and which now filled the room where all else was dead.
  • Armed with nothing but meaningless phrases, this boy had been thrown to fight for existence, he had hobbled and groped through a brief, doomed effort, he had screamed his indignant, bewildered protest —and had perished in his first attempt to soar on his mangled wings.
  • The road of human history was a string of blank-outs over sterile stretches eroded by faith and force, with only a few brief bursts of sunlight, when the released energy of the men of the mind performed the wonders you gaped at, admired and promptly extinguished again.
  • She knew-by the way he looked at her, by an instant’s drop of his eyelids closing his eyes, by the brief pull of his head striving to lean back and resist, by the faint, half-smiling, half-helpless relaxation of his lips, then by the sudden harshness of his arms as he seized herthat it was involuntary, that he had not intended it, and that it was irresistibly right for both of them.
  • He snapped his way through a brief speech, hailing a new era and declaring-in the belligerent tone of a challenge to unidentified enemies-that science belonged to the people and that every man on the face of the globe had a right to a share of the advantages created by technological progress.
  • The boy’s features had no power to form a smile, but it was a smile that spoke in his glance, as he looked at Rearden’s face-as he looked at that which he had not known he had been seeking through the brief span of his life, seeking as the image of that which he had not known to be his values.
  • They had been meeting whenever he came to the city, spending a brief, rare evening together-with their past still alive in their silent acknowledgment-with no future in their work and in their common struggle, but with the knowledge that they were allies gaining support from the fact of each other’s existence.
  • It had taken one instant, but in the next his foot went down on the brake, tearing the engine to a stop: for in the moment when his headlights had swept the ravine, he had glimpsed an oblong shape, darker than the gray of the weeds on the slope, and it had seemed to him that a brief white blur had been a human hand waving for help.
  • It seemed to her that it took a long time, as if her arm had to move against some atmospheric pressure that no human body could combat-and in the span of these few brief moments, in the stillness of a blinding pain, she knew what Francisco had felt, that night, twelve years ago-and what a boy of twenty-six had felt when he had looked at his motor for the last time.
  • The decision was made for him by the brusque, confident manner of the two strangers-by the credentials of Miss Dagny Taggart, Vice-President of a railroadby brief hints about a secret, emergency mission, which sounded like Washington to him-by the mention of an agreement with the airline’s top officials in New York, whose names he had never heard before-by a check for fifteen thousand dollars, written by Miss Taggart, as deposit against the return of the Sanders plane-and by another…
  • …of the motor’s sound that broke off, like a mountain rockslide, all contact with the time behind her-to the circling fall of a blade that vanished in a fragile sparkle of whirling air that cut the space ahead-to the start for the runway-to the brief pause-then to the forward thrust-to the long, perilous run, the run not to be obstructed, the straight line ran that gathers power by spending it on a harder and harder and ever-accelerating effort, the straight line to a purpose-to the…
  • Then his head fell back, and there was no convulsion in his face, only his mouth relaxing to a shape of serenity-but there was a brief stab of convulsion in his body, like a last cry of protest-and Rearden went on slowly, not altering his pace, even though he knew that no caution was necessary any longer because what he was carrying in his arms was now that which had been the boy’s teachers’ idea of mana collection of chemicals.
  • There was only a brief stab of shock in her eyes, then she said indifferently, the words sounding as if she were tossing alms, "By all means, Jim.
  • "…. And now, ladies and gentlemen, I will present to you the heroine of this night, our most uncommon guest, the-" Pain came back to her in a sudden, piercing stab, like a long splinter from the glass of a protective wall shattered by the knowledge that the next words would be hers; it came back for the brief length of a name in her mind, the name of the man she had called the destroyer: she did not want him to hear what she would now have to say.
  • Don’t let it hurt you like this-thought Dagny, slumped across her desk, over the page of the newspaper where a single brief paragraph announced the "temporary" end of Rearden Steel-don’t let it hurt you so much…… She kept seeing the face of Hank Rearden, as he had stood at the window of his office, watching a crane move against the sky with a load of green-blue rail…… Don’t let it hurt him like this —was the plea in her mind, addressed to no one-don’t let him hear of it, don’t let him…
  • She could not be certain, it was only an instant, so brief that just as she caught it, he was turning to point at the birch tree behind him and saying in the tone of their childhood game: "I wish you’d learn to run faster.
  • "Miss Taggart," he said, with an odd note of sternness in his voice, "just remember that he represented a code of existence which-for a brief span in all human history-drove slavery out of the civilized world.
  • It can be-" The break in her voice was almost too brief to notice, but what it held was the thought: Rearden Metal rail for going back to the time before heavy steel?-perhaps back to the time of wooden rails with strips of iron?
  • Is it production?" she said, whenever her cold, measured voice was able to seize a brief stretch of their tune.
  • Don’t listen to her!" he cried, his eyes avoiding hers, while hers paused on him for a brief, level glance that began as a shock of astonishment and ended as an obituary.
  • If you give up and vanish, like all those men who-" It was not a sound that stopped her, it was only a movement of his eyebrows, the brief, swift movement of a check mark.
  • Sure, I knew there was a lot of cowardice there, and envy and hypocrisy, but I thought that that was only the surface-now, when I’ve proved my case, when I’ve proved it so loudly!-I thought their real motive for inviting me was their appreciation of the Metal, and-" She smiled in the brief space of his pause; she knew the sentence he had stopped himself from uttering: " and for that, I would forgive anyone anything."

  • There are no more uses of "brief" in the book.

To see samples from other sources, click a word sense below:
as in: briefed her Define
to give a summary of important information to someone
as in: legal brief Define
a summary of important facts -- especially an opinion of a legal case
Show Multiple Meanings (More common than this sense)
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